Prior to the game, Ron Gardenhire let the media know that neither Matt Capps nor Joe Nathan were available out of the bullpen. And with Kevin Slowey sidelined with unbearable sadness, that left the Twins in a dire predicament should Nick Blackburn falter.
But this is May. And Nick Blackburn doesn't falter in May, you filthy sonsabitches. The Twins righty continued his excellent run of late with a bullpen-avoiding complete game in the Twins' 4-2 victory over Seattle.
The Twins jumped out to an early lead with their two best hitters (Denard Span and Jason Kubel (Professional Hitter), forget what I said about Trevor Plouffe on Friday) tripling and singling in the first, respectively, to stake the Twins to a 1-0 lead. Minnesota extended the lead to 2-0 in the third inning on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze by the unpopular Matt Tolbert that scored the more unpopular Alexi Casilla.
Blackburn, after three uneventful innings, surrendered a 2-run homer in the fourth to Miguel Olivo to tie the game, but that would be the only damage Seattle would do. They threatened to score in 7th, but Olivo was gunned down at home by the aforementioned unpopular Casilla, with a very nice defensive play by Rene Rivera to hold onto the ball.
The Twins recaptured the lead in the bottom of the inning on baseball's most exciting play, the balk by a pitcher with a funny name with a man on third. After Fister's balk, Denard Span followed up with a double to make the score 4-2.
Beyond that, it was all Nick Blackburn. He finished with 127 pitches, soaring past his previous career single-game high of 112, and setdown the Mariners in order in the ninth to end it.
President Stud: Blackburn
Vice President Stud: Span
Speaker of the Stud: Rene Rivera. Miguel Olivo drilled him at the plate to no avail, and he scored the winning run.
President Pro Tempore Stud: Alexi Casilla and Jason Kubel, Professional Hitter, share the duties.
Duds: none. The Twins haven't won enough this year for me to to pick nits.